I’ve realised that although I post a lot of photos on Instagram of my pooches, I haven’t really written anything about them on the blog, which is quite rude really!
In all honesty they could probably have their own Marley and Me-esque book written filled with all the regular antics they get up to, but I’ll just let this be a short introduction to the pair of them.
Arthur, other names include; Mr P/PBF/Superstar
Likes: long walks every day, preferably on the beach or an open field, chewing sticks, swimming in the sea, chasing hares, his own space, sunbathing in the garden, cheese and butter, belly tickles, climbing on things, Jamie.
Dislikes: Big dogs aka horses coming near his fence, rain, having a bath, early mornings, being fussed, being cold, car-rides and he’s quite a picky eater.
Arthur is a saluki and we found him by the road one late September night when Jamie was picking me up from the airport. Oh how we used to travel before we had to consider the cost of kennels…..Anyway, we lived in a second floor flat at the time so it wasn’t really ideal, but as none of the charities would collect him as he was no longer in immediate danger, we kept him much to Jamie’s delight.
To be honest I don’t even think he tried calling the charities, I think it was probably a line he fed me so we could keep him. That was three and a half years ago, we’re now several thousand pounds down owing to his hobby of flashing the cash; he’s flooded three properties, damaged more furniture in our home than I want to think about and don’t even get me started on the vet bills and his penchant to always require the vet out of hours.
Personality wise he’s very aloof, he likes to be cuddled on his terms which basically means he sits on you but you don’t touch him, he’s fond of a daily routine and can get quite disgruntled if his routine gets messed up. At the same time he likes the family unit to be kept together, often pacing the house crying for Jamie when he’s not here and he’s easily excited loving nothing more than playing a game of fetch or football or “singing” with Jamie.
Maggie, other names include; Mushroom/Best Friend/Gremmer
Likes: Stuffed toys, cups of tea, pretty much all food, mud, jumping in puddles and ponds, forests, flushing pheasants, the human bed, car-rides, digging, attention, Lauren
Dislikes: Anyone who needs their own personal space or doesn’t give her attention, lemons, Arthur getting more attention than her
Maggie is three quarter springer, one quarter lurcher. We’ve had her since she was around 4 months old, as a friend for Arthur. My mum picked her up for me on a trip down to see me whilst Jamie was on holiday, so when he got back there was a little Maggie laid on the sofa waiting for him.
Personality wise she’s got that frantic intense behaviour of a springer with the drive of a sighthound, you could describe her as full on. This means when out she’s easily distracted, runs around like a maniac, and when she sees something she wants it. Two good examples could be chasing a hare across three fields and subsequently peeling the bottom of her paw off, or jumping on the kitchen top to eat a chocolate brownie. She’s also incredibly loving, we call her nurse Maggie as she knows when you just need a good cuddle. She’s normally found tootling about the house looking for a comfy napping spot with her baby.
Ever since the first moment they met, they’ve got on like a house on fire. We’ve had a few moments where things have got a bit heated between them, usually over Maggie wanting what Arthur has, but otherwise they do everything together – digging holes in the garden, biting holes in the sofa, terrorising the little dogs etc.
For anyone who has, or has ever had a pet, I’m sure you understand when I say that they are more than just animals, they are simply family. Every day they greet us with wagging tails and wet noses, wiggling around on the sofa for a belly rub in the morning or dancing around with excitement when we come home from work or being out. Yes they jump up (Arthur), no they don’t have respect for your personal space (Maggie), yes they have selective hearing when they’re off the lead (both), and no they won’t eat the cheap dog food, hell neither would I if I were a dog, they’ve also caused huge amounts of damage to our home and wallets and untold amounts of stress. But they also make us laugh and they are extremely gentle and loving. The night we left the hospital after having Beatrice, when we came through the door they knew something was different. They didn’t jump up, they didn’t try and muscle their way in demanding attention like they normally do, they simply came and stood next to us quietly. In the weeks and months that have followed they have been nothing short of superstars. In those weeks that immediately followed they never left our side. When we were upset they came and sat by us with Maggie attempting to lick the tears away. They were our reason to get up and dressed in the morning, even if it was only just to take them out for a walk.
What we never anticipated was how much our grief would affect them. One night we started to cry and Maggie just couldn’t handle it, she just vomited straight away. We knew then just how much of our pain the pooches were carrying and that we had to make sure we didn’t neglect them once our family left us on our own. It was that same weekend that we decided to take a trip to Norfolk. It probably sounds like the last thing on earth anyone would want to do, and that’s certainly how I felt in the depths of sorrow, but Jamie really wanted to go. That weekend was not only for us, but also the dogs. We spent three long days at Wells-next-the-Sea and the dogs absolutely loved it. They must have ran for miles. After a week of feeling like my world had ended and I would never feel joy again, seeing them two running across the beach with their little happy heads on just filled my heart with joy. I just knew then in that moment that we would eventually be okay and we could feel happy again.
Since then me and these two angels disguised as gremlins have spent nearly every waking moment together. I’m writing this in bed with one laid at my feet and the other laid on the floor next to me (just to prove the point). I look after them and they look after me. I love them and they love me. Their intuition is incredible. In the few seconds before I start to get upset, they know. Maggie usually comes straight to me and barges her way onto my lap waiting for the tears. Then when the tears come she frantically starts to try and lick them away and nibble my nose, which in turn makes me laugh. Although this little act doesn’t stop the sadness, most of the time it helps prevent me from falling into a deep sense of despair. When I’m really upset and Maggie’s cuddles aren’t quite enough, Arthur comes and sits by me too, which for a dog who likes his own company and solitude is a big thing. He then starts rolling around with his legs in the air all twisted making funny noises. It’s almost like he’s trying to lift my mood and make me laugh. Basically, they’re super heroes.
I’m now six months into my maternity leave and I can honestly say I don’t think I would have coped anywhere near as well without these two. Even when I’m having a really low day, taking these two out cheers me up no end. There’s something about seeing their happy little heads running around that just lifts me. You know you’re making them happy and that makes you happy. Especially if when you come home they just throw themselves on the floor and sleep for hours, that’s when you really know you’ve made their day.
Now I’m not suggesting that everyone goes out and rescues a dog (no puppy breeders please, there are enough dogs needing homes out there already) as they are bloody hard work and a massive commitment. But for those who do have dogs or are about to get a dog, you’ll never regret it. Sure you’ll miss not being able to stay late for those after work drinks as you need to go and let the dogs out, you’ll probably never have a completely pristine home again and you’ll never be able to just book a last minute flight as kennels are always always full when you need them, but you will have a best friend for life.